Saturday

25th May 2019

New EU budget draft seeks cuts in farm aid, cohesion

  • Farm subsidies are taking the biggest cut in the new budget proposal (Photo: caese)

New member states and France are set to lose most from a fresh EU budget proposal slashing €75 billion from proposed 2014-2020 spending, but Britain still wants more cuts or it will veto the deal at a summit next week.

Drafted by EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy, the new "negotiating box" seeks cuts in almost all areas, with farm subsidies - which France benefits from the most - slashed by €21.5 billion compared to the initial EU commission proposal of €1 trillion overall for the seven-year period.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Funds for infrastructure and enterprises to help eastern member states to catch up with the West - so-called cohesion policy - is also set to receive €17 billion less than planned.

Neither French nor Polish diplomats were happy about the draft.

"It is clearly not what we wanted," one source told this website. Paris has already slammed a previous compromise tabled by the Cypriot EU presidency, which had sought smaller cuts in farm subsidies.

For his part, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is currently busy shuttling between Brussels and Berlin in his bid to make the case for the "Friends of cohesion" - a group of countries benefiting the most from regional spending.

"Germany as a net payer has clearly a different view than Poland and the Friends of cohesion, but we have always been able to find common ground," Tusk said on Wednesday (14 November) at a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Germany wants big cuts, but Poland says these cuts should be more balanced, to protect this growth mechanism that is cohesion policy," he added.

Merkel said she is willing to seek a compromise next week and warned that having no deal on the seven-year budget would damage EU credibility.

"Even if we are net payers, it is not our goal not to have a deal. We will do our best to reach an agreement, one that is fair for everyone," she said.

A German government spokesman earlier in the day welcomed the Van Rompuy text.

"It is a good thing to have compromise proposals, we are now in the hot phase ahead of the summit and we all have an interest in reaching a deal next week," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference.

The current proposal is closer to what Germany first had in mind - €120 billion less than what the commission tabled.

"I think in the end we'll get a deal on cuts of around €100 billion," one Cypriot diplomat told this website. Asked why Cyprus earlier proposal only went called for cuts of €50 billion, he replied it was "negotiating tactics."

"The key to the deal is Britain," the source added.

As for British sensitivities, the draft goes nowhere near what would be acceptable for Prime Minister David Cameron not to use his veto.

"We think it's still too high and the cuts don't go far enough. It will be difficult to get a deal," a British source said.

Sweden has also said it is unhappy with the proposal, which seeks to reduce the Swedish rebate by some €25 million while leaving Britain's multi-billion-euro rebate untouched.

Opinion

EU budget: Don't cut the left arm to save the right

EU citizens will be the biggest losers of the power struggle on the Union's budget for 2014-2020, as any cuts will stifle growth and jobs, write MEPs Joseph Daul and Reimer Boege.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Magazine

A deep dive into the EU regional funds

While the regional funds account for a full third of the EU budget, they are somewhat under-reported. EUobserver's latest edition of the Regions & Cities magazine looks at the EU's cohesion policy.

Magazine

The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  2. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  3. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  4. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  5. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  6. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  7. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  8. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us